MoviePass, the one in trouble. The startup that aims to revolutionize watching (and making, indirectly) movies in theaters is back. After bankruptcy, a pandemic that closed movie theaters anyway, and acquisitions, the subscription model is taking another crack at it. Here’s what we know about MoviePass 2.0.
What happened to the old Filmpass?
If you’re not up to speed, here’s the short version: For several years, MoviePass has offered a simple subscription to watch movies in theaters. The company has experimented with different models, such as $15 per month for two movies or $40 to $50 per month for unlimited movies.
Then, in 2018, the company made a bold, absurd change: to film daily $10 per month. In many parts of the country, this is less than the price of a single movie ticket. And MoviePass used to pay theaters the full price of each ticket. Millions of users have signed up, and why wouldn’t they? It was basically free money from MoviePass.
The plan didn’t go well. Over time, MoviePass had to raise prices, customer support began to decline, and the company’s alternative monetization plans fell through. Even worse (for Filmpass, but good for us), theater chains themselves began offering their own subscriptions.
These theaters were more financially viable as they paid less to studios than Filmpass paid to theaters. Additionally, even if theaters experience losses on ticket sales, they will benefit from additional concession revenues. (At one point, MoviePass argued that in an effort to bring in revenue, it had to cut theater concession sales. That didn’t go over well either.
Eventually, MoviePass went bankrupt, and one of the company’s founders, Stacey Spikes, bought the company back. Why is all this history important? Well, if you’re considering signing up, it’s worth remembering that this is another in a long line of tried and tested business models. Whether this will succeed remains to be seen.
How do I sign up for MoviePass?
The current iteration of MoviePass (called MoviePass Beta) is rolling out in stages—it might help avoid the same rush-and-crash experience that its predecessor had, which was a real disaster, as the waitlist itself crashed the minute it went live). On August 25, 2022, the company opened a five-day waiting list.
If you sign up for the waitlist during that window, you’re in line for an invite to the new MoviePass. Once you’re logged in, you’ll get a cache of invites that you can send to your friends. If you miss the waiting list, getting one of these invitations is your best bet until summer 2023.
The MoviePass beta is not launching in all markets at once. The company stated that it is assessing the demand in different parts of the country based on how many people are registered as standbys in one area. Many major cities like Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Austin already have access. Prices vary somewhat depending on where you live, especially in New York and California.